Older members of the Greek community see aging and the ill health that may accompany it as an inevitable part of life. They associate illness very closely with God’s will, and largely believe their state of health is an aspect of fate and / or luck that they do not have control over and must simply accept. This paper, based on research conducted in Melbourne, Australia, describes the way in which the experience of old age is understood in the worldview of this group. The words fate and luck (τύχη = tyche; γραφτό = graphto) are often used by older Greeks to characterize their situation. Luck, to this group, is not random. The term (τύχη) was used in classical times to refer to a kind of minor deity that controlled the fortune of the Greek city states, and an element of this idea of intention remains today. In the modern context, luck comes from God, and for this group, is part of γραφτό, or destiny, something that is written. In its usual usage in Greek, γραφτό refers to something that must happen to a person because it is predetermined and cannot not occur. The meaning that these older Greek individuals give to the word luck in the modern world is manifested in their acceptance of the problems of aging and their approach to coping with their own experience.
|Keywords:||Illness, Old Age, Fate, Luck, God, Acceptance, Elderly Greek, Australia|
Associate Lecturer, School of Public Health and Human Biosciences, Faculty of Health Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia